Ifeoma Ubby, who goes by “Ify”, has one major goal these days: to “bring the joy and vibrancy of African prints into people’s lives,” says the founder and designer of OliveAnkara, a hip apparel and accessories brand that blends African-inspired prints with Italian fashion heritage.
However, it is quite a departure from what brought her to Singapore from her hometown of Venice in 2013. Back then, she was continuing her research as a PostDoctoral Scientist at the National Cancer Centre Singapore.
Still, she says she always had a “passion for fashion,” as her mum used to sew Ify and her siblings’ clothes, and her grandmother taught her to sew. “It happened that I got married, and I really wanted to have a piece of home with me – that means cloth, the African fabrics,” shares Ify, who is from a Nigerian family.
“So I went home [to Italy] that summer, and my grandmother gave me a piece of cloth, so I decided to do my own wedding dress.” Once she saw herself in her DIY wedding dress, it wasn’t long before she decided to start OliveAnkara in 2016.
How did she win our Sustainability Award? In short, it’s Ify’s strong commitment to a zero waste approach (including using fabric scraps to make stylish Covid masks) as well as slow fashion. “We do limited-edition collections in order to waste as little as possible,” she says.
About The Finder Expatpreneur Awards
In 2017, The Finder debuted its first-ever Expatpreneur Awards to honour foreign-born entrepreneurs running successful expat-owned businesses in or from Singapore. In 2019, 22 expats were awarded for their tremendous dedication. This 2020, a new batch of 19 winners has been unveiled! All of them have one thing in common: Their brands help people “live well in Singapore” – The Finder’s core mission.
By Kirstie-mae Baptist, The Finder Issue 303
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